Michelle Obama knows the mental gymnastics required to be the only black First Lady. In the season finale of Michelle Obama’s podcast, she was joined by her 83-year-old mother Marian Robinson and older brother Craig to discuss parenting and politics. During the broad conversation, she spoke of the need that black people often feel “ten times better than” to achieve equality in the United States.
This mentality begins with interactions with the police, she says. “When you leave the security of your home and step out into the streets, where being black is a crime in itself, we have all had to learn to operate outside our homes with caution and fear, because you never know,” she explained. “We are growing up, we have to have conversations with our children. Because almost everyone I know has had some sort of incident where they are just going about their own business but living in black and being accused of something.
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This need to prove oneself and to overcome prejudices was found in the presidency of Barack Obama. His famous slogan “When they go low, we go high,” coined at the 2016 DNC, spoke of the different lens through which people viewed the Obama administration, as opposed to Trump’s. “You are taught, you know, that people are going to take the worst of you,” Obama explained. “So you have to be better than, you have to be ten times better than. And when we were in the White House, we could never have gotten away with some of the things going on now, ”she added, referring to Trump’s presidency. “Not because of the public, but our community would not have accepted this.”
Obama also said that those protesting racial injustice on behalf of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and others were angry with “being accused of being less than you.”
“You worked, you did your best every day. You came. And we did it in the White House, but there are people and jobs all over this community, all over this country, all over the world doing the same because that’s how we have been. high. We have to be better, just to be equal. So the fact that there are people who treat us less than, when we work so hard to be better than, is where the pain comes from. This is why these young people are so angry. Because they do everything right, whatever they are told, and that’s okay. A police officer will always arrest them and accuse them of stealing a bicycle that their parents worked hard to get. It hurts. ”
Despite the challenges black people face in the fight for equality, Obama says she and others are counting on their tight-knit circles to strengthen themselves. “We have communities that stay together, faith groups and, you know, little league teams. We are rebuilding a life with duct tape and glue and a lot of love and a lot of empathy,” he said. she declared. “So when people doubt us, it’s frustrating and it’s painful and it can make you angry.”
Listen to the entire episode, here:
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